Wednesday, June 28, 2006

4. Weblog Ethics Survey Results

As mentioned in the previous entry, the study on Weblog Ethics as conducted by the three NTU students, sought to explore ethical principles in blogging through a quantitative survey of bloggers (personal and non-personal bloggers) from around the world.

We present to you the findings of their survey results.

Findings on Weblog Ethics
Findings revealed that while personal and non-personal bloggers have some things in common in terms of their ethical beliefs and practices, there are also some distinctive differences.

For example, non-personal bloggers valued attribution and truth telling the most, but for personal bloggers, truth telling was less important than attribution and minimizing harm.

The type of ethics most practiced by the personal bloggers was minimizing harm, while the non-personal bloggers practiced truth telling, attribution, and minimizing harm equally. The personal bloggers were also less consistent in practicing the ethics they said they valued than the non-personal bloggers.

Both groups of bloggers believe attribution is the most important practice. This could be due to the nature of blogging, in which bloggers show readers links to other pages to illustrate a point or to share information.

In contrast, belief in accountability was regarded as least important by both groups of bloggers. This could be due to the perception that many regard the Internet a place where they can express their opinions without inhibition or consequences.

Findings showed that both personal and non-personal bloggers are uncertain as to whether a blogging code of ethics is needed.

As most non-personal bloggers take a journalistic approach in their writing, it seems reasonable to expect them to see a need for a blogging ethics code when compared with personal bloggers.

However, both groups of bloggers do not currently see a strong need for a blogging code of ethics. A blogging code of ethics may be more valued and adhered to when bloggers’ themselves see a stronger need for it.

Weblog Ethics Survey Results

Monday, June 19, 2006

3. Blogging Code of Ethics (Singapore)

Three undergraduates from School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University (SCI/NTU) conducted a survey on Weblog Ethics, which results was released at Weblog Ethics Survey Results in July 2005.

From the literature on Internet ethics, blogging ethical codes, and journalism ethics, four underlying ethical principles that are relevant to blogging were identified.

They are truth telling, accountability, minimizing harm, and attribution.

Truth telling includes underlying concepts such as honesty, fairness, equality and completeness in reporting.

Accountability involves being answerable to the public, honesty in one's work, revealing conflicts of interest, and bearing consequences of one's actions.

The third principle is minimizing harm (done to others) by blogging. It includes issues of privacy, confidentiality, flaming, consideration of other people’ s feelings, and respecting diverse cultures and underprivileged groups.

Attribution involves issues such as plagiarism, honouring intellectual property rights, and giving proper credit to sources.

These four principles form the structural framework in the design of the survey questions (see Source) relating to bloggers’ ethical beliefs and practices.

Another website, What are the Ethics of Online Journalism? also offers an extensive review on the principles of online journalism (blogs). It is more elaborated, and adds on to the above posting.

Here is roughly what the website has:
- No plagiarism (Always link the reference website, whether you have taken pictures, audio, videos, or large text excerpts.)
- Disclose (Disclose the purpose of your blog, who do you work for etc. If you are making money for your company, let your readers know, and disclose all relevant information about your company that may be important to your customers.)
- No bribery (Refuse giving and accepting gifts or money to avoid conflicts of interest amongst journalists.)
- Check your source of information and speak the truth (Search for facts, not others' opinions or comments. Double check the source of information to make sure it is true.)
- Be honest (Be transparent about your work and be honest with your readers. Never lie because you will lose credibility with your readers. Answer what you readers ask.)

Do read up to find out more!

Weblog Ethics Survey Results

What are the Ethics of Online Journalism?

Monday, June 12, 2006

2. Chronology of Events / Development of Weblogs

The very first weblog and first website was created by Tim Berners-Lee at CERN ( The link is however no longer available.
Tim Berners-Lee started a technological revolution and the website is now archived at World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), a value that is immeasurable.

1993 - 1996
National Centre for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) took over for a while, followed by Netscape, which became the trigger for websites and eventually, weblogs.

February 1996 - January 1997
Dave Winer did his first weblog, as part of the 24 Hours of Democracy - a celebration promoting free speech on the Internet.
What he did glued the community together, along with a mail list that was hosted by AOL. In April 1996, he began a news page for Frontier users, which became Scripting News on 4th January 1997.

Other early weblogs include Robot Wisdom, Tomalak's Realm and CamWorld.

Rebecca Blood, author of The Weblog Handbook, notes that a significant site listed only 23 weblogs in existence at the beginning of 1999. Later in 1999, the media started noticing weblogs and drew attention to the phenomenon. The proliferation of free weblog-creation programs in 1999 made blogging a hugely popular pastime.

Before that, most weblogs were hand-coded by web developers and others who taught themselves HTML. The new programs made it easy for anyone to create their own weblog.

Blogger was released in August 1999 and was an immediate hit. By October 2000, Blogger users were creating 300 new blogs a day, and the Blogger directory had over 5,500 blogs listed. In November of the same year, the 10,000th Blogger weblog was created. As of 2002, Blogger claimed over 750,000 users.

UserLand Software: The History of Weblogs

Yahoo! - What are blogs and how did they become so popular?